Ubisoft confirmed today that game creator Tommy François has left the company after being accused of inappropriate behavior including sexual misconduct.
The move is the latest to happen in the wake of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot’s pledge to overhaul how the company handles employee complaints about harassment, sexual abuse, and other matters. Ubisoft stood out among big game companies in terms of the volume of complaints related to the most recent round of #MeToo sexual abuse allegations to hit the game industry.
A spokesperson for Ubisoft said in an email to GamesBeat, “Tommy Francois has left the company, effective immediately.” Business Insider reported it first.
François was Ubisoft’s vice president of editorial and creative services, and he was part of a group that was extremely influential in deciding the games that the major French company would publish. Francois is one of the highest-ranking people to leave the company, following the departures of vice president of editorial Maxime Béland, head of human resources Cécile Cornet, and chief creative officer Serge Hascoët.
Guillemot has promised that HR in the future will listen to employee complaints and take action in a structural shift at the company, which has been accused of covering up complaints in the past. I interviewed François multiple times in the past, and he gave a major talk at the annual Dice Summit game conference in 2016 about how Ubisoft approaches building worlds for games such as The Division and Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
“I want to empower teams to make video games into a more impactful medium,” François said in that talk. “Worlds are super-complex to create. They’re simulations. I have two sons. When my sons play an open-world game, when they are done, maybe they will be smarter because they have learned something from the game. With that in mind, I work very hard to create mindsets to help Ubisoft developers create more immersive, impactful worlds.”
François conveyed how creating new games at Ubisoft was a huge undertaking that involved sending artists and developers on site to exotic places to collect a trove of data that would be useful in creating fictional game worlds.